7 Ways to Spot a True Sense of Urgency

“I can’t believe she just gave up,” commented my doubles partner Fran.

All I could say at the time was, “It is so incredibly sad.”

It went down like this…

We were at three-all in the first set of our tennis match. We broke our opponents and took the lead at 4 – 3. I served and we won another game for a score of 5 – 3. They served and edged closer, 5 – 4. Fran served and we won the first set, 6 – 4.

First game in the second set, we broke their serve and BAM! Our opponents’ body language screamed, “There is no way we can win – we may as well give up now and get this over with!”

And that’s what happened. Fran and I went on to win the second set 6 – 1, and took the match easily. Not because we were technically better players, but because we cared about the outcome more.

You see, little did they know that just last week Fran and I were in a similar position. We were losing the first three games, at one point down 5 – 2, only to fight back and win the first set 7 – 5. We ultimately went on to win the match.

How?

By never giving up.

Why?

Because whether it’s in sports, business, or my family life, when I do something, I give it my all. I figure if I am going to invest my time and energy in something, that something must be important. Otherwise, why do it at all? And I make it a point to surround myself with people who feel and live the same way.

Seems so obvious… Yet 90% of people walk through life like zombies, just hoping to make it through the day with as little effort as possible.

Always hoping for a different outcome, while maintaining the mindset that they deserve better.

These are the people who, in any position within an organization, can singlehandedly destroy morale, consume mounds of energy, and obliterate profits!

I call them Complacency Campaigners or CCs. Many business owners and managers underestimate their power to ruin a business. They are full of excuses. And the drama is endless.

Complacency Campaigners come in all shapes and sizes. They are disguised as CEOs, marketing managers, mailroom clerks, and sales representatives. And they thrive on recruitment more than the most sophisticated multi-level marketers.

So why are they so prevalent?

Although complacency is pervasive, even smart, experienced people do not always see it. They may mistake activity for productivity and franticness for urgency. And because CCs are skilled at shuffling papers and drumming up “emergencies,” it’s easy to overlook the fact that they are actually doing nothing.

But when you as a business owner, entrepreneur, or manager recognize this business cancer and do not take a stand against these CCs, you are as guilty as they are.

Door Number One or Door Number Two

When you decide to take a stand, you have two choices. You can either let the CC go… or you can coach him and try to turn him into a valuable team member.

Truth be told, option number two is tough. Tough because very often the CC had a supervisor who let the problem go on way too long – either at your organization or at a prior company. The CC’s complacency may be too thoroughly ingrained for her to change.

However, it is possible to turn a CC into a valued member of your team. And I will admit, I always try that first, even though there is only about a 25% chance that the infamous CC will stay on board.

But when their “Aha!” moment strikes, you know the effort was worth it. You can see the transformation from hypnotic complacency into a true sense of urgency.

7 Ways to Recognize Those Who Really Get It

1) A Winning Team: People with a strong sense of urgency quickly identify critical issues and form strong teams that are committed to ambitious change even when the members of the team are already working hard.

2) Vision and Strategies: Strong and committed teams organize the effort to find smart strategies and envision long-term outcomes when dealing with essential issues, even when the best strategies are hard to pin down.

3) Communication: High-urgency teams feel a need to persistently communicate their vision and strategies to the appropriate people to get them on board and generate still more urgency.

4) Empowerment: Those with a strong sense of urgency empower others who are dedicated to making a vision a reality by removing obstructions in their path.

5) Short-Term Wins: High-urgency teams celebrate short-term victories and make them visible to the entire organization.

6) Never Give Up: After a minor or great success, teams with a true sense of urgency never let their members slip back to complacent inertia. Instead, they expand the effort and strive for improvement.

7) Making It Stick: Teams with a true sense of urgency feel duty-bound to find ways to make sure any change sticks by incorporating that change into the organization’s structure, systems, and – most importantly – culture.

Here is the truly amazing thing: Working with a sense of urgency actually requires less energy than complacency. And the rewards are ten-fold.

[Ed. Note. MaryEllen Tribby has created the site, www.WorkingMomsOnly.com, as the leading website and newsletter for the empowerment of the working moms. Her mission is to supply the tools that can give EVERY working mom the ability to lead a healthy, wealthy, and more balanced/blended lifestyle. To create a community where millions of working moms from all over the world come together in support and celebration of each other.]
  • Tom Cox

    Nice read. Here’s the short version from “The Creed of the Sociopathic Obsessive Compulsive.”

    “Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.”